Chapter Outreach: Making Connections with the help of a Summer Intern in 2021

We have received a $5,000 matching gift from two donors challenging us to create a one-time summer internship in 2021.  After planting thousands of trees in PA and NJ, and many new scientific breakthroughs, we are at a critical juncture. The intern’s primary role will be to connect with the dedicated orchard owners and volunteers across our two states, assess orchard conditions and help us find the best trees for the future.
How Can You Help Us Make This Happen?

Our Chapter Staff and Board of Directors want to double this match to fund a 12-week outreach program to cover wages and travel expenses for a young student. We are asking for your support to match our donor’s generosity and raise $5,000 by May 12th.

Help us make this Spring match:

 Please Donate by May 12th!

Why is this important now? 

Twenty years ago, Ann and Bob Leffel worked with the Duke Stanback Internship program to hire Sara Fitzsimmons as a summer intern.* Her role was to visit and evaluate the many member orchards across Pennsylvania. Since then, orchard outreach has been limited by staff resources. Sara remembers her intern experience fondly and it’s apparent that she never quite recovered from her love of the American chestnut. Today, she is Director of Restoration for TACF and a valued authority on American chestnut restoration. At Sara’s recommendation, the Board is championing a renewal of this position in 2021.

Today, there are over 15,000 hybrid and wild-type American chestnut trees growing in over 100 orchards, restoration projects, and woodland locations. We are seeing great advances in both genomics and breeding for resistance. And, we’ve all been cooped up during the pandemic, making travel and personal connections problematic. Now more than ever is the right time to reach out to growers, assess conditions, and find the best trees. And we would like to give an interested student this unique opportunity to learn about our restoration mission. Because the interns of today may be the leaders of tomorrow.  


Unlike Sara’s journey 20 years ago, social media will allow this intern the opportunity to share their outreach experience with regular posts of photos and stories, so we can follow their progress together.  A full report will be published when the project is complete.   Please help us match the generosity of two donors so that we can fund this critical outreach.

Donate online on our Fundly page.

To donate by check: Make your check payable to PA/NJ TACF and mail it to the PA/NJ Chapter Office:

Pennsylvania State University
206 Forest Resources Lab
University Park, PA 16802